Teresa Valko and her mother, Evelyn Wilson, in 2011. Courtesy of Teresa Valko hide caption

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A New York study found that getting medical students together with dementia patients and their families at museums to view, discuss and create art for 90 minutes made the students better communicators. Colin Hawkins/Getty Images hide caption

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Despite losing his sense of taste and smell to Alzheimer's disease, Greg O'Brien says grilling supper on the back deck with his son on a summer evening is still fun. Sam Broun/Courtesy of Greg O'Brien hide caption

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Giedre (left) and Tal Cohen in March 2013, while Giedre was still healthy. Since then, she's begun having symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. In Giedre's case, the illness is tied to a rare genetic mutation she inherited. Courtesy of Tal Cohen hide caption

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In this colorized image of a brain cell from a person with Alzheimer's, the red tangle in the yellow cell body is a toxic tangle of misfolded "tau" proteins, adjacent to the cell's green nucleus. Thomas Deerinck/NCMIR/Science Source hide caption

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Greg O'Brien and his wife are finding it more difficult to drive to and from their family's secluded house on Cape Cod. As they move out and move on, O'Brien has discovered a bittersweet trove of memories. Sam Broun/Courtesy of Greg O'Brien hide caption

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The Allen Institute for Brain Science hosted its first BigNeuron Hackathon in Beijing earlier this month. Similar events are planned for the U.S. and U.K. Courtesy of Allen Institute for Brain Science hide caption

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When combined with results of other neurological tests, and in the context of a thorough medical history, atrophy of the brain (shown here in an MRI scan) sometimes indicates Alzheimer's. Simon Fraser/Science Source hide caption

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Laury Sacks and her husband, Eric. The actress and writer developed frontotemporal dementia in her late 40s and died in 2008 at age 52. Courtesy of Eric Sacks hide caption

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Prion protein can be infectious, spreading from cell to cell in the brain. Here four nerve cells in a mouse illustrate how infectious prion protein moves within cells along neurites — wire-like connections the nerve cells use for communicating with adjacent cells. Science Source hide caption

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Greg O'Brien (left), with Colleen, Mary Catherine, Conor, and Brendan O'Brien, has been grappling with Alzheimer's disease for the last five years. Courtesy Greg O'Brien hide caption

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Marian Grunwald (from left), Earl Elfstrom and Verna Matheson bounced a balloon back and forth with nursing assistant Rick Pavlisich on Dec. 13, 2013, at an Ecumen nursing home in Chisago City, Minn. Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, Minneapolis St. Paul hide caption

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